Trust is Free Speed

Trust is free speed.

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Figuratively, I would trust any of the girls in my boat to hold my lifeline while I jumped off of a cliff. I have complete confidence that every single one of them would catch me before I hit the ground. I know that when we cross into those red bouys during a race they are pouring every ounce of effort they have out of their bodies and into the speed of our boat along with me. When I line up next to other crews, I know that anyone in my crew would be willing to die for me and they know that I would be willing to die for them.

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PHEW. HEAVY, RIGHT?? OK it sounds totally crazy, but the unity that comes from the bond we collectively have is what makes a boat go fast (ok and also fitness, technique, rhythm etc, but TRUST). Trust is essential in the boat, but it is built on and off the water and a lot of times outside the boathouse.

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Do you trust your teammates to do all of the “on your own” workouts? Do you trust your teammates to get enough sleep every night? Do you trust your teammates not to go to the bars the night before morning practice? Do your teammates make you look forward to going to practice? Do they lift you up during a bad practice or are they the ones bringing you down? Do you know that they’re always putting forth their best effort? If you can’t answer these questions affirmatively, your boats aren’t going to be going as fast as they could be.

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I wish for every athlete that they can trust their teammates. You might trust them to show up to practice, but if you want to have “catch me when I jump off the cliff” levels of trust look inward first. Ask yourself why your team should trust you. Be consistent. Be supportive. Rowers learn from mistakes. If you take big risks and try to reach new levels of speed on the erg or the water, they’ll feel comfortable doing that too. Be a person that you would want to be in a boat with.

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Off the water, try to make friends. Do things with your team. Bond, get to know one and other. Nurture your freshman, make the seniors seem less scary. Talk to people you don’t normally talk to. Take out a pair with someone you want to get to know better.

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Trust is built slowly. You don’t always realize when you have it, but it’s going to be obvious when it’s not there. Build trust now so that when you need it most, it’ll be there. When you get to the starting line and your stroke seat knows that their boat will follow them come hell or high water you’ve made it.

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